WASHINGTON June 19 2021:The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved USD442 million in financing to support Pakistan in improving access to water and sanitation services for the most vulnerable rural communities in Punjab province.
The Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project (PRSWSSP) will help upgrade water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services that ensure equitable and sustainable access to drinking water and safe wastewater management. The project prioritizes rural settlements, where water contamination and poor sanitation practices are more prevalent, causing high levels of illness and child stunting.
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The project will implement tailored, cost-effective solutions for both large and small rural settlements, using scalable technologies that help facilitate solid and animal waste management at the household and community levels. It will also establish a water-quality monitoring system to ensure compliance with national standards for drinking water and wastewater. The PRSWSSP will promote safe water handling, hygiene, and water conservation practices at the household level, with a focus on maternal, newborn and child health.
The project will cover 16 districts, with 50 percent of districts drawn from south Punjab, and 25 percent each from central and north Punjab, benefiting 2,000 villages and more than six million people in rural areas. It will also provide training of village councils and community caretakers, which will have complementary responsibilities for operations and maintenance, monitoring and evaluation, and customer service.
The project design was informed by a 2018 flagship report, When Water Becomes a Hazard : A Diagnostic Report on The State of Water Supply, Sanitation and Poverty in Pakistan and Its Impact on Child Stunting, that examined linkages in Pakistan between water and sanitation services, and child stunting. This study also supported environmental sustainability and the need to provide information and support behavioral change in poor rural communities to reduce health risks.